Most people have heard of Malaria, a parasitic infection caused by a bite from an infected mosquito, but there are a few facts about this ailment that are not general knowledge. See how much you know about the most common parasitic infection in the world by reading our five fast facts now!
1. Before 1897, Malaria was thought to be caused by contaminated air or infected water!
Fact: We now know that Malaria is caused by a bite from infected mosquitoes. It is still important to avoid standing water in homes and communities because such environments breed mosquitoes. In 1897, a man named Ronald Ross discovered how the parasite spreads – he later won the Nobel prize in 1902.
2. Malaria is transmitted through female mosquitoes
Fact: The mosquito responsible for transmitting Malaria is the female Anopheles mosquito. She transmits the malaria parasite through her saliva after picking up the parasite from an infected human’s blood.
3. Malaria is usually transmitted between sunset and sunrise (9pm and 5am)
Fact: Try to prevent getting infected during these hours by wearing long sleeved shirts and trousers/skirts, applying insect repellant (Mosi-Guard is safe in children and is not foul-smelling) and ensuring windows have mosquito nets and doors remain shut.
4. Malaria costs Africa more than 12 billion dollars a year!
Fact: Yes, $$$$12 billion. That is a lot of money spent every year on one ailment – think of what good that money could do for countries in Africa if Malaria were a thing of the past.
5. Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) can be used to diagnose Malaria from the convenience of one’s home, but they can be falsely negative if a person is already taking anti-malaria medication
Fact: Malaria parasites may be present in the blood but not easily detected if a person is already on medication, thereby leading to some premature truncation of a treatment course. On another note, too many people start treatment with anti-malarials when they do not have a diagnosis of Malaria and this is causing resistance to current anti-malaria medication.
Working to keep you healthy,
Dr. Sade Adeyi MD, MPH Consultant Family Physician
@yourprimarydoc on Instagram and Twitter
Photo source: Wikipedia